AN invitation has been issued to the Further Education Minister to visit the region amid concerns over the availability of college courses.
Galloway and West Dumfries MSP Finlay Carson is urging Graeme Dey, whose responsibilities also include youth employment and training, to come down and hear about the issue in Stranraer.
Mr Carson said: “I am increasingly concerned about the availability of college courses for my constituents in Galloway and West Dumfries.
“The ten per cent cut in activity targets and the 13 per cent cut in the SDS Modern Apprenticeship contract for Dumfries and Galloway College are having a disproportionate impact on rural students who already face challenges in regards to further education.
“The college is now having to make very difficult decisions about the range of programmes they offer and, as a result of the reduced activity targets, courses relating to the creative industries are having to be removed.”
The MSP said that given Dumfries and Galloway prides itself on its art and creative industries, this is of particular concern.
He added: “With regards to SDS Apprenticeships, we are seeing demand for apprentices at peak levels and the cuts now mean that in areas such as construction and engineering, where there is significant demand, there will now have to be a waiting list until places become available.
“This not only creates uncertainty for the students, but also for the associated industries and businesses who are crying out for trained workers.”